I would like to see more respect in the public discussion about concerns related to people experiencing homelessness and addictions, says letter writer. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: People who are homeless need Nanaimo’s compassion

I would like to see more respect in the public discussion about people experiencing homelessness

To the editor,

Re: Homelessness spreads onto school grounds, Feb 27.

I am as weary as the next person about the excessive focus on political correctness in general. However, I would like to see more respect in the public discussion about concerns related to people experiencing homelessness and addictions. In the article, the labels “transients,” “the homeless” and “the homeless issue” were used. While perhaps a step up from ‘hobos’ or ‘bums,’ we can still improve in how we speak about our fellow community members.

Long ago, similar labels were used for others such as ‘the disabled,’ the insane,’ ‘lunatics’ or ‘addicts.’ Thankfully, people facing these challenges are now usually recognized as, first and foremost, people: people with disabilities, people with mental health issues, people with addictions. People first and, by the way, not ‘those people.’ Anyone could encounter such a challenge at some point.

J. McNeilly, Nanaimo

To the editor,

Re: Homelessness spreads onto school grounds, Feb 27.

Along with most of residents of Nanaimo, I care deeply about where we live and want a safe place for our kids to learn and play. Fundamental to our relationship with the place where we live is connection with the people who live here.

I am disappointed with the coverage of issues presented because of the lack of respect given to those people experiencing homelessness and addictions. To solve these challenges, we need compassion to identify and address the roots of the problems. This is essential, especially in school communities, where children are looking to educators and the wider community about how to respond to these challenges. Compassionate role modelling will foster future leaders who can meet these challenges with humanity and goodwill. Indeed, B.C.’s new curriculum has a focus on place-based learning which connects students with the land they live on and the people who leave near them (with and without homes). This curriculum recognizes the importance of relationships with land and people as foundational to learning and well-being.

Carrie Holt, Nanaimo

To the editor,

Re: Homelessness spreads onto school grounds, Feb 27.

Enough is enough Nanaimo. Why are we putting up with this? Why are we allowing this type of activity to continue? Most homeless people have made a decision to live this lifestyle. There are a few people who have mental health issues and have fallen through the cracks.

Somehow, over the past number of years, society has been duped by the ‘bleeding hearts’ into buying into feeling sorry for them and telling us that we need to put up with their living in our parks, malls and downtown, watching as criminal activity runs rampant and provide safe injection sites and not to do anything about it. I for one, find this to be ludicrous. There are laws that speak to theft, violence, drug activity, vagrancy and vandalism.

Citizens of Nanaimo please do your part. Call or write your members of city council, MLA, member of Parliament, Crime Stoppers and police department. Take our city back and make those in charge deal with it and clean up our city.

This situation is growing ever close to being at crisis mode. People are afraid or uncomfortable to venture to some parts of town or be on our streets at night. We are hounded constantly by people begging.

Let’s not be sheep, speak up and make Nanaimo safe and pristine again.

Gord Hall, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

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